Bruce Barber

E (1979)

3 min 3 sec (excerpt)Digital Video / Sound

"E is a performance rehearsal document from a work produced in Halifax in 1978, then exhibited at the Living Arts Festival in Vancouver and the Biennale of Sydney (1979). E = Exegesis"

Bruce Barber

In a 2012 interview with Marc Leger, Barber spoke about the formal and thematic content of E and it’s relationship with two other performance works, Function and Revolve.

BB: “You could describe these as a series of interrelated, what I call, "actexts." I conflated the two words action and text. So it's about language and there are descriptives for the individuals who were engaged in performing these actext sequences. They're also cinematic. The door slamming is sort of like the gate of a camera, so that you see these individuals coming through quickly, slamming the doors, moving back, around and around, so that you have this sort of circular motion, which is recapitulated in Function and Revolve.

MJL: In "Statement Concerning 'E'" you mention that around 1974 you started using the word exegesis.  

BB: Yeah. Exegetes were Jewish cabbalists who were into secret knowledge. So there is a kind of Judeo-Christian signifier there for your sort of exegete and there's also Hermes, the god of communication. So there's interpretation, understanding and comprehension. Those were the three key processes.

MJL: How do you see percussion sounds and doors opening and closing opening up a process of interpretation?  They bring about a sort of breaking of the circle.

BB: Yeah. It's a performative theatrical trope, you know, when the curtain opens, the door opens, something's going to happen.

Other works by Bruce Barber

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